Vinson Massif | Antarctica | 16,066ft | 4897m | 15 days | Completed in 2013 |
Vinson Massif is in some ways similar to climbing Denali with the difference being colder weather (summit temperature was -38 degrees). Vinson is 4,000 feet shorter than Denali, so less time is needed to acclimatize. Saving time acclimatizing means a shorter expedition and less supplies. Since Vinson Massif is located in Antarctica at the bottom of the world, it is extremely expensive to reach due to the complicated logistics.
Paul and the team arrived in Antarctica at the end of December 2013 and with favourable weather were able to get to the research station at Union Glacier aboard the IL76 Russian military transport jet a day early. Once the team hit the ice progress was rapid, jetting to Vinson Base Camp aboard a Canadian twin-otter aircraft. The team had an average temperature of -28C with a summit temperature of -38C. Conditions throughout were fantastic and on January 5th the entire team stood on the summit, with Paul becoming the first Longford native to reach the peak of Antarctica.
For most climbers getting the funds is one of the biggest challenges. At €33,000 you can bet anyone willing to invest that kind of money is going to be in top shape to guarantee a return on the investment. By the time you reach this mountain, almost all climbers are experienced and knowledgeable (hence high success rate).